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Hiking Safety and the Disappearance of Ron Kirk
Hiking Safety and the Disappearance of Ron Kirk

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AIR DATE: March 1, 2012

Ron Kirk was 46.  Fit and tan, he was an experienced hiker who roamed the outdoors in his red Jeep, looking for his next adventure.  Then a few weeks ago, he disappeared in Red Rock.  Gone.  Only a text message that read: "A beautiful day for hiking."  The police, rescue search groups, and his family have turned up nothing.  Journalist Joshua Longobardy decided to retrace Ron's steps to find out how an experienced hiker could so easily disappear.  We talk to Joshua about Ron's story, and to hiking experts about safety on the trail. 
 
Have you ever been lost hiking?  How close did you get to danger?  What do you do to ensure your safety?  Could what happened to Ron happen to any of us?  Share your stories below or  during the live show.
 
GUESTS
Joshua Longobardy, freelance journalist, LV CityLife
Alan Gegax, Chief of Las Vegas Hiking and Outdoors Meetup

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COMMENTS:
Memorial for Ron will be held at the following location: Red Spring Picnic Area which is located at the end of Calico Basin Road. There really isn't an address available, but all the local Vegas people know about it. Please talk with someone who can give you directions. It is very important that you try to carpool into the area if possible. If you can't carpool in, then feel free to bring your car in. Again, the memorial will be from 4PM to 8PM. Please try to make it there by 4PM if possible. Thank you very much and the public is invited.
Darrell KirkMar 13, 2012 11:53:28 AM
Being the younger brother to Ron, I have experienced the level of humanity that Ron had instilled in himself and in others first hand. As I got older, I always looked up to Ron for lessons in life. The ones that can only be learned from a older brother. I can tell you story after story about how GREAT of brother and human being he was but instead I will leave you with this...The one thing that I admire about my brother the most is his belief in his morals. When he decided to take a moral stance on something.. Right or Wrong, he stood his ground based on his decision because it was his moral choice. This type of quality is hard to find in some people in today's society and this should prove what type of person he was on the inside, not to mention his ability to adapt, improvise, and overcome anything. We will find him regardless, and we will always remember that every person that met Ron... Felt the etching of his personality instantaneously!!!!
Garnett KirkFeb 28, 2012 21:33:15 PM
Darrell and Susan - I spent a lot of time with your brother back when we were at the Ford Plant together. I actually attended the reunion in West Virginia in the late 90's. Your father gave me some homemade moonshine and I ended up going to sleep in the back of someone's car while your brother played horseshoes. Good time. My thoughts and prayers go out to you. The world is a nicer place with him in it.
Christine FerrebeeFeb 28, 2012 12:50:19 PM
I am Ron's aunt in Michigan.I have not seen Ron for several years but have kept in touch,most recently thanks to facebook. What wonderful thoughts are put out there by family, friends and complete strangers.It is proof that Ron is an incredible person who touched so many lives.Hopefully,there will be a miracle soon and Ron will appear.
Carol BelisleFeb 28, 2012 04:56:12 AM
This strikes me as a metaphor in more ways than one, for the life Ron led and the path he took in life. Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same, And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back. I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. Ron didn't follow a traditional path (as Darrel mentions) but his impact with friends and family shows its not the path but the man who walks the path that makes all the difference in the world. Love ya Ron!!!
Gary BergsmaFeb 27, 2012 19:40:08 PM
My cousin Ron is the sweetest person who would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it, he is very adventurous, loving, caring and hard working..I remember the reunion we go to every two years, Ron and Jr decided to have a cook out and cook for all of our family and they did a great job and we had lots of laughs and stayed up till midnight or so telling old stories..I am still praying and holding onto the faith that Ron is out there and they will find him soon..I love you Ron!!!!
Carol HolzFeb 27, 2012 19:09:45 PM
I have followed Ron's story from the very beginning and there is not one day that goes by when I don't think about him and his family. I am truly amazed at the way everyone came together to search for him, and that is a true testament to the kind of person he was. I don't need to know him personally to feel the love. I will continue to pray until Ron is back home.
Linda MillerFeb 27, 2012 08:45:30 AM
As many may already know and for those who don't, Ron survived a near death accident 10 years ago. I spent every day at the hospital waiting for the day that he would come out of the induced coma. He fully recovered very quickly and became the fun and adventurous Ron we all know and love again. Ron has an incredible love of and love for life. He will not give up without a fight. If he is in that mountain somewhere, he is not going to give up easily. He knows those mountains and I believe he knows how to survive out there. Thank you for keeping his story alive and thank you to everyone who continues to go out to look for him. He would not hesistate to do the same. I still believe he may be out there holding on and hoping and praying to be found. I will continue to believe and keep the faith as I know he would do the same for me. Pete, the kids, and I miss you Ron! The world is just not the same without him and great smile and sense of humor. I hope all the wonderful people who have devoted so much time get the chance to meet the wonderful guy they have been searching for! Thank you!!
Susan DresFeb 27, 2012 08:12:53 AM
As family goes, I could not ask for a better brother than Ron. He has always been there for me. He is never too busy, even taking my calls when he was out on a run, on his way into the school library, and even a couple of times while he was donating blood. We spoke on the phone several times a week. So when I could not reach him the week before his jeep was found, I knew something was terribly wrong. Ron rarely got angry and was so easy going that he never held a grudge. The happiest and most fun-loving guy you could ever met. He is so lucky to have such a great group of friends in the "Hash House Harriers". I amazed at the great show of support for him from the community. The way that his friends and people who never even met him continue to get together to search for him is incredible. Ron would be proud. And I am proud to call myself his sister. We love you Ron!!
Susan DresFeb 27, 2012 07:55:03 AM
My cousin Ron is a very energetic person that loves life and enjoys testing himself doing things. If he wanted to try something there is no stopping him. I want to Thank all who have searched and those who continue to search for him.
Clarence GobleFeb 27, 2012 06:52:14 AM
My heart goes out to Rons family prayers here havent stopped! To all the heroes who are searching and volunteering. Thank You! Your nonstop compassion and commitment to finding Ron and helping the family is heart warming! Stay safe and Godbless you all!
Dawn SiboFeb 27, 2012 04:01:32 AM
I don't know Ron Kirk but what I do know he was loved by his friends and his family and because of that it encouraged me to participate in searching for him . My husband and I with help of my 2 German shepherd searched for him in different times but unfortunately did not see any sign of him so far . Please don't lose your hope and continue looking for him . Angelina Amerason
Angelina AmersonFeb 27, 2012 01:25:00 AM
Just want to thank again all of the volunteers who gave their time, blood, sweat, toil and tears along side Ron's friends and family. This experience has renewed my faith in the Las Vegas community and has drawn me closer to my loved ones. Ron's legacy is filled with beautiful, powerful, positive things.
Danae CummingsFeb 26, 2012 22:49:30 PM
So many people have asked me why friends, family, and complete strangers from all over Vegas are aiding in the search for Ron Kirk. After more than a month since he went missing, I have the answer--Ron invested everything in his friendships. This meant foregoing many of the things most Americans dream of--a house, kids, and material possessions. Ron owned very little, and this allowed him to travel across the country at will and at a moment's notice. Over the last few weeks I have received phone call after phone call from friends of Ron who profess he was their best friend and that he came to them when they needed him most--a divorced mother with children needing a father figure; a dear cousin involved in an accident leaving him paraplegic; others seeing him as the only one who could every understand what they are going through. I could go on forever and always knew how special Ron was, but could never have grasped that his flights and adventures all over this great country has such a personal and specific impact on so many. Thank God for all of you involved in the search for Ron. You don't know the impact you all have had on our family and all his friends.
Darrell KirkFeb 26, 2012 21:40:33 PM
I am still not convinced that Ron is in the Red Rock Canyon mountains...when you think of it there is no real substantial evidence showing that he where he went. And there was a 6 day period before he was even known missing. Yes, his red jeep was there in the parking lot. That's about as far as any possible evidence goes. But then, just because his jeep was parked near the canyon, does not really represent evidence that he went into the nountains. I think looking elsewhere, other than just the mountains should be thoroughly researched.
Ann JacovbsonFeb 26, 2012 01:12:55 AM
Hello and thank you for your interest in our brother, Ron Kirk. First I would like to thank the "Hash House Harriers", the various hiking groups, and complete strangers who have logged over 5,000 miles in the search for Ron. Las Vegas has an incredible caring community and we will be forever grateful to all of them. I would also like to thank the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, in addition to their Search and Rescue unit who risked their lives for over 22 hours while flying night missions at low altitude to find our brother. They were in the air immediately upon notice from the Hash House Harriers who found Ron's jeep in Calico Basin. I would also like to thank the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Missing Persons Unit who immediately responded to Ron's case even when Las Vegas receives over 900 missing person's cases per month. I find it quite amazing that they were very open to us using all means available in the search for Ron to include giving the Hash House Harriers, various hiking groups, and others their blessing in the search. I still believe the most deadly venture we undertake each and every day is getting into an automobile. Darrell Kirk
Darrell KirkFeb 25, 2012 21:35:12 PM
Well said Darrell. I have been a long time friend of Ron's. He is a fun, fearless and spontaneous person. For those of u who think he just wanted to get away or start anew alone, you don't know Ron. He was his own boss and moved to Las Vegas to continue his journey of life. He did want he wanted when he wanted and had friends all over the country. He's in Red Rock somewhere. I know it...feel it. I've felt helpless for a long time. My husband n I have relocated several years ago to the Ann Arbor area. We were unable to help with the searches as well as some of his other good friends, in Texas, Minneapolis, Chicago, etc. The turnout for the searches have been amazing. Darrell has set up a FB Page for him to keep us all informed on the daily goingons. A good friend of mine's sister lives near Red Rock and joined two searches n rescue groups in search of my dear friend whom she never met. It's amazing how people come together in a time of need. My heart aches for him and we keep his spirit alive by talking about him often to our family, friends and kids. His smile and laughter is strongly missed. <3
Janette VandergriffFeb 26, 2012 12:53:57 PM
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